Grenadian PM calls for deeper integration

NEW YORK: During a trip to New York City last weekend, Grenada Prime Minister Tillman Thomas reiterated calls for deepening the regional integration movement.

“When you look at what’s happening around the world and, in particular, this present global economic crisis, clearly, we need to have a more unified or regional government in the region,” Thomas said at a town hall meeting last Sunday in Brooklyn. “We need to have a more regional approach to governance in the region.”

During a conference at the United Nations on the world financial crisis and its impact on development, Thomas noted the similarities of most Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations.

“When you think about world issues and think about how Grenada or Trinidad or Jamaica or St. Vincent would vote, generally, the position is quite similar. I’m saying, look, we could come up with a structure – it’s a regional government. We could have one representative at the United Nations representing the region. That’s a possibility.

“Look at the United States, look at Europe, look at other countries how they’re coming together. We have a common language, a common tradition, a common culture. All we need to do is improve our sea transportation and air transportation within the region. We can come up with a regional government. It’s not difficult to achieve. It’s been achieved in other countries,” said Thomas.

Thomas said industrialized nations have begun to listen to CARICOM’s plea to address the global financial crisis and climate change, in particular.

“The global body is now listening to us,” Thomas said. “When you listen to the speeches from the big powers, such as France and England, you know they’ve been listening to our pleas.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon pledged to work with regional states hit hard by the crisis.

“CARICOM has shown exemplary leadership on the issue of climate change. You understand the dangers faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS). For some Caribbean countries, your very existence is threatened. Despite these difficulties, you are taking the path of cooperation. Your common regional approach is a model for others,” he said.

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